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Breakfast on the Fjord

While all my boys are still sleeping, I took the opportunity to enjoy a nice, simple breakfast on the fjord.  Nothing better than a croissant and some strong Norwegian coffee with views of the Aurland Fjord to start my day.

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Connecting With Our Roots in Romskog

Though my grandfather passed away when I was a young girl, I will never forget the pride he felt for his Norwegian heritage. His family had immigrated to the US in the late 19th century.  At first they settled in Northfield, Minnesota and later Erskine, Minnesota. Today we had the opportunity to see the community and the farm from which our family came.

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The weather was sunny, bright and warm, a welcome change after Trondheim, as we headed west to Romskog this morning to meet our family. GPS and Waze work fairly well here, however, they’re never 100% in these old cities. Nonetheless, we made our way through the Norwegian countryside, which was growing increasingly wild with our drive. The landscape reminds me a lot of Northeastern Minnesota, so it really isn’t a surprise many Scandinavian settlers chose to settle in that region.

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We met our extended Trandem family at beautiful small, lakeside church in Romskog. As we walked into the church grounds we were greeted by our Norwegian family and shown where our ancestors were buried. It was crazy to see graves going back to the 18th century. The weather has worn their gravestones, so they’re a bit hard to read which you’ll notice on the pictures. Our family gave us a history of the church and the items in it, which was fascinating.  

 

The kids finding all of this boring had made their way down to the lake and were climbing on the rocks and gallivanting about the beach. Our kids were in heaven and would have been happy to stay at the beach all day, but our relatives had tailored a tour of the town, so we embarked on exploring the Romskog area by car.

With each stop on the tour, my boys became more enthralled with the area. The beautiful lakes, forests and hills were definitely calling their name. I’m pretty sure they want us to buy a cabin on Lake Romsjoen as soon as possible. For the adults, seeing the Trandem farm and houses was amazing. We got to see the home where my Grandfather’s grandfather Andreas, whom I was named after, was born.  In fact, he lived there until he immigrated to the US. The farm, which had once covered much of Romskog County and extended to the Norwegian-Swedish border has since been sold off. Our family now lives in a house above the farm and others now live in Sweden.

Post tour, they hosted us at their home for lunch, which was incredible. Their hospitality, their food, their garden and their home were incredible. They were so welcoming of all 16 of us, including our six kids. Our kids, meanwhile, had the time of their life playing in their yard and running and playing together. It was truly a magical day.  Moreover, it was a wonderful opportunity for us to connect with our past and our extended Norwegian family.

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A Little Side Trip

After a wonderful lunch and visit with our Norwegian relatives, we decided as a group to make a border run since we were so close.  We caravanned our way across the Norwegian-Swedish border and stopped to take a couple of pics. Since we were so close, it made sense to explore Norway’a neighbor.

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Journey Southward

After a couple days bumbling around in a fog courtesy of jet lag and a long travel schedule, we’re all starting to feel a bit normal. We started our day with a killer hotel breakfast at the Radisson Blu in Trondheim. More options than one could possibly imagine at a free breakfast buffet and all of high quality. I quite enjoyed the crepes and the petit pain au chocolat. While my boys enjoyed the eggs, fresh fruit and croissants. Post breakfast we hit the grocery store and made a quick Starbucks run where we met a nice barista from Brazil, who ended up in Trondheim after meeting a boy in California.

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The weather was cooler this morning, but drier so it felt warmer out than the thermometer suggested. We headed south through some light rain for a bit before we hit some sunny weather. We took a different route back to Oslo that had incredible vistas of mountains, rivers, waterfalls, and valleys. The beauty of the drive is impossible to describe adequately with words, so I’ll add some photos.

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The downfall of driving so far is that the kids get stir crazy and start to fight over things like who has more leg room proportionately and who should have more leg room based on their size. Needless to say the Mayor and Goalielocks were without their phones for much of the drive.

 

We stopped in Lillehammer to have a picnic lunch at Olympic Park, which looks almost abandoned although we did see a team come in for training. It was a nice break in the drive and the boys enjoyed the opportunity to see the ski jumps and the torch. We hit the road again for the final leg of our journey to Oslo, which included our first experience with an undersea tunnel and AirBNB. It took us awhile to find the key pick up place and navigate the city, but we made it and our apartment is fantastic. We’re looking forward to our stay in Oslo.

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Exploring Trondheim

We spent our morning exploring Trondheim with my parents, my grandma, my brother and his family, my cousin and her family and my aunt and uncle. Trondheim is a great walking town, so we haven’t needed the car once since we got here. The weather is quite a bit colder than Florida, a refreshing and rainy 55 degrees.

One of the coolest sites in Trondheim is Nidarosdomen, Nidaros Cathedral, which is the northernmost cathedral in Europe. The cathedral was built on the burial site of St. Olav and work started in 1070 as a tribute to the King and was completed in 1300. The church’s denomination (as with the rest of Europe) was originally Roman Catholic Church, but post reformation it’s denomination is the Church of Norway.  It is truly a saintly place.

We stayed for the organ meditation where many of us fell asleep courtesy of a long travel day and some jet lag. The kids were only hushed once, which was a complete miracle. My boys lit a candle to honor Debbie. Each of the kids lit a candle to say a prayer, threw coins into the wishing well, and left a note of gratitude with a stone on an alter. Only two of them burnt themselves on the candles, another small miracle.

 

After the brief nap, or the 1:00 pm organ meditation, we made our way down to the crypt. Its much different from the catacombs of Rome or Notre Dame in Paris. In Norway, the burial practices were much different. In medieval times, they did not embalm people and they reused graves. This means the headstone would change when they would bury someone else in the grave. These headstones, some of which were for knights and other dignitaries, were what was kept in the crypt.

In the Nidaros Complex there are several museums including the crown jewels, the Archbishops palace where you can see the actual excavation sites, and a military museum. We were able to go into all of them on our combined ticket. The boys favorite was the military museum while mine was the Archbishop’s Palace and the military museum.

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Post cathedral, we took a nice nap. For those that know me that will come as quite a shock as I am not a napper. Tomorrow I’ll grab some pictures of the free breakfast, which is absolutely incredible.

True Grit and Determination Wins the Day

After a transatlantic flight with little to no sleep for everyone, we hopped on a train, the T to get our rental.   For the next eight hours we hit the road from Oslo to Norway.  I’m not convinced that Waze sent us the best route, but hey nothing wrong with a little adventure.  Who doesn’t like driving on two lane mountain roads on no sleep and with three boys fighting in the backseat over the lack of legroom.

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Adventures and travels don’t always come easy,  they call from tenacity and grit sometimes, but that is also what makes them worthwhile.  There was a payoff was the view for the two-lanes drive.  The scenery has been absolutely breathtaking and we’re no worse for the wear.   Time to get some grub before calling it an early night.  Sending much love from Trondheim.

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